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Topic Sentences Lesson for Kids: Writing & Examples

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  • 0:04 Topic Sentences
  • 0:34 Purpose
  • 1:15 Identifying Topic Sentences
  • 1:59 Writing Topic Sentences
  • 3:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mel Green

Mel has taught elementary, special education and high school english. She has a master's degree in education.

Starting a new paragraph can be hard, but it's easier if you know how to craft a topic sentence. In this lesson, you'll learn the parts of a topic sentence as well as how to identify and write topic sentences.

Topic Sentences

When writing a text, we organize our writing into paragraphs, which are sections writing of focused on particular themes, or topics. The topic sentence is the sentence in the paragraph that gives the reader not only the general topic, but also the main idea, or what the paragraph is trying to say about the topic. The other sentences in the paragraph provide supporting facts.

So, we can say that topic sentences provide two things: the topic (theme) and the main idea of the paragraph; what the paragraph is saying about the topic.

Purpose

Have you ever spoken to someone who talks and talks, but you never really know what they're talking about? They're in desperate need of focus, something to guide their conversation. This is where topic sentences come in handy.

Imagine you're on a museum tour. Your tour guide stops in each room of the museum and explains the purpose of the room and the items in it. Your tour guide's job is very similar to the job of a topic sentence.

And just as the tour guide stands before the audience to explain, the topic sentence generally stands at the start of the paragraph. However, sometimes the topic sentence is not the first sentence in a paragraph. It could be at the end or mixed in the middle. That's why it's important to know how to identify topic sentences.

Identifying Topic Sentences

So how do you find the topic sentence of the paragraph? Well, we know that the topic sentence presents the topic, so we should begin by looking for the general theme of the paragraph. The trick is to look for a word or words repeated in the paragraph. Let's try looking for a repeated word in this paragraph:

Looking for topic sentences in paragraphs

'Gymnastics' is the word that's repeated several times, so we can safely say that this is our theme. Keep in mind that sometimes pronouns like 'it' will refer to the topic.

Next, we'll look for the most general sentence about gymnastics. In our example paragraph, this sentence appears to be the very first one: 'I started gymnastics when I was four and it has been my favorite hobby ever since.' The rest of the sentences are more specific and work to support the general topic sentence.

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